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Thomas Jones: What’s in a name?

19 October 2000
... He’s also Director of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, but that turns out to be the endowment of ‘the late Dr D.M. McDonald, a well-known and successful industrialist’. LouisdeBernières, presumably the LouisdeBernières who wrote Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, has written an indignant letter to the Author, the journal of the Society of Authors, ‘to inform you ...

But Little Bequalmed

Christopher Tayler: Louis de Bernières’s Decency

2 September 2004
Birds without Wings 
by Louis de Bernières.
Secker, 625 pp., £17.99, July 2004, 0 436 20549 1
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... exerts a ‘continued and insatiable fascination’ on children whose ‘resolute and stalwart’ elders smoke in ‘exemplary and companionable silence’. At this point, it’s clear that LouisdeBernières is back in business, preparing to depict a few ‘incandescent and illicit moments’ of tenderness among the ‘banal but vile atrocities’ of history’s ‘prolonged and atrocious ...

Everyone’s Pal

John Sutherland: Louis de Bernières

13 December 2001
Red Dog 
by Louis de Bernières.
Secker, 119 pp., £10, October 2001, 0 436 25617 7
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Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World 
by Louis de Bernières.
Vintage, 119 pp., £6.99, October 2001, 9780099428442
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... Who would have expected LouisdeBernières to follow up Captain Corelli’s Mandolin with the soft-centred biography of a lovable pooch? Red Dog could be seen as a reversion to national type – the English, Nabokov witheringly remarked, feel ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: New Writing

8 March 2001
... might be directed at the number of familiar names on the contents page: Barbara Trapido, Anthony Thwaite, Anne Stevenson, Alan Brownjohn, Helen Simpson, Andrew Motion, Michael Hofmann, Alan Sillitoe, LouisdeBernières and Geoff Dyer are ten of them, and ‘new’ isn’t the first word that springs to mind. But there are plenty of good reasons, too obvious to need repeating, for the inclusion of well ...
24 September 1992
Doctor Criminale 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 343 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 436 20115 1
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The Promise of Light 
by Paul Watkins.
Faber, 217 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 571 16715 2
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The Absolution Game 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 204 pp., £13.99, June 1992, 0 09 471460 6
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The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman 
by Louis de Bernières.
Secker, 388 pp., £14.99, August 1992, 0 436 20114 3
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Written on the Body 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Cape, 190 pp., £13.99, September 1992, 0 224 03587 8
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... done the eminent Doctor for Frank Kermode’s ‘Modern Masters’. Alas, Criminale reflects no credit on that worthy series. He is revealed as the most treasonable of clerks, a compound of Waldheim, de Man, Harry Lime and Lukacs. Thematically, Doctor Criminale shapes up as a kind of post-Maastricht version of Henry James’s international theme: English ingenuousness discovers corruption beneath ...

Elementary

John Sutherland

8 July 1993
Air and Fire 
by Rupert Thomson.
Bloomsbury, 310 pp., £15.99, April 1993, 0 7475 1382 1
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Dreams of Leaving 
by Rupert Thomson.
Penguin, 435 pp., £6.99, April 1993, 0 14 017148 7
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The Five Gates of Hell 
by Rupert Thomson.
Penguin, 368 pp., £5.99, March 1992, 0 14 016537 1
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... journalism to create docufiction, in the Nineties it seems to marry more readily with travel writing – a genre which is currently enjoying a little golden age. Air and Fire, like recent novels by LouisdeBernières and Nicholas Shakespeare, conveys a powerful sense of faraway places. As with deBernières and Shakespeare, Thomson’s traveller’s tale gravitates to the Hispanic New World and ...

Flame-Broiled Whopper

Theo Tait: Salman Rushdie

6 October 2005
Shalimar the Clown 
by Salman Rushdie.
Cape, 398 pp., £17.99, September 2005, 0 224 06161 5
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...  a sort of politically correct fairytale. Again, this is especially true of its anglophone variants: see the tedious fables of Jeanette Winterson, or the eccentric but warm-hearted villagers of LouisdeBernières. These days, magic realism is deservedly out of fashion. But it’s worth remembering that it has been one of the great styles of the last fifty years. When executed with intelligence ...

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